Thursday, January 21, 2010

Virtue and Morality.

I have decided to take some time to cover the 28 principles outlined in W. Cleon Skousen’s book"The 5000 Year Leap". The founders believed these principles to be necessary to establish and maintain the form of government that has made this country the greatest bastion of freedom in the world. In each post we will dissect one of the principles and apply it to problems faced by our country. I hope you will take the time to read “The 5000 Year Leap” and accompany me on this journey of exploration.

Today we will look at the second principle: A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Let me start with a quote from Bejamin Franklin that sums up nicely the basics of the 2nd principle. “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

This really describes where we are as a nation in a nutshell. A majority of our leaders, in government and business, are without morals. This has become increasingly obvious with the scandals that riddle the headlines as of late. With figures like Bernard Madoff, Rod Blagojevich, Timothy Geitner, Charlie Rangel and a list that goes on ad infinitum; it’s no wonder that the founders worried over this. The founders we truly concerned that the populace were not of a virtuous nature and therefore incapable of self rule. They were eventually persuaded, over time that, the people of this nation were inherently moral.

Time seems to be proving them wrong. This nation has slowly but steadily fallen away from the strong virtues and morals that made this experiment such a success. Most citizens would be hard pressed to find a single political figure that has no skeletons in their closet. Sex scandals, tax problems, corporate greed, illegal contributions, unethical practices and influence peddling are rampant in “big business” and government alike. It’s no wonder that the American people have little faith in either.

Where did we go wrong? It’s simple; we stopped holding leaders to a higher standard. We have humanized them and allowed them to make egregious errors in judgment without repercussions. There has to be a bright line for behavior and clear definitions of what is right and acceptable. More equivalency has no place in this equation.

Popular culture may be partly to blame. The popularity of salacious and amoral themes in our movies and television programs are a sure sign of our decline. The people are being inculcated at an early age into a society that the founders would have deemed unworthy for self rule. We are clearly in need of a master and it is simply a matter of time before one appears to fill the vacuum left by our diminishing morals.

I am optimistic though, I believe that there is an inherent good in all humans. I think we have just been lax in our vigilance. We have allowed this corruption to sneak in undetected and without protest. We need to hold these leaders to a higher standard. We need to put them in a position where they are required to answer to us. Until we do so nothing will improve and we will continue on the path that ultimately leads to our own demise.

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